Professor Johnny Grey will be speaking at Current Issues in Global Furniture conference at Buckinghamshire New University

Current Issues in Global Furniture will take place from on Wednesday, 20th November from 9am-4.45pm at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre and keynote speakers are kitchen designer Professor Johnny Grey, founder of Johnny Grey Studios; furniture designer Gareth Neal, and Professor Jegatheeswaran Ratnasingam.

The day will include discussion of topics such as the Fine Element Analysis method to check and improve furniture strength; the growing influence of the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council; and the prominence of craftsmanship in contemporary Italian furniture design.

Jake Kaner, Professor in Furniture, who is chairing the afternoon session, said: "This conference is the eighth we have organised on furniture studies here at Bucks New University, and, looking back at the programmes of the past events, this one is going to be quite extraordinary, having such a diverse and international group of topics.

“With such a strong field of speakers we hope to find out what the current burning issues in the discipline are, and how these will help us to keep this creative industry moving forward.”

The event will be opened by Dr Lynn Jones, Head of Academic Department – Furniture, and the morning session will be chaired by Professor Florin Ioras, Research Professor of Conservation Sustainability & Innovation at Bucks New University.

Prof Johnny Grey is the keynote speaker in the morning session, on 'The rise of kitchen furniture'. Prof Grey, who is Visiting Professor of Design at Bucks New University, has influenced the world of home design for the past 35 years and has written a number of books on kitchen and home design.

Prof Jegatheswaran Ratnasingam is Professor of Furniture Technology at Universiti Putra Malaysia, an Honorary Professor at Bucks New University, and worked in furniture manufacturing before entering the academic profession. He will be speaking on the growing influence of the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council.

International designer Gareth Neal studied BA (Hons) Furniture: Design and Craft at Bucks New University and is speaking in the afternoon on 'Core values in furniture design for the 21st Century'. He owns a furniture design practice in East London and has exhibited work at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and at Sotheby’s, in New York.

Other speakers include Dr Alun Watkins, National Secretary of PEFC UK Ltd, promoting sustainable forestry management; Dr Andy Pitman, who has worked in the timber industry for over 30 years and is a member and former Chairman of The Wood Technology Society and sits on several UK and European standards committees; and Dr Sarah Teasley, Reader in Design History and Theory at the Royal College of Art in London.

The conference will include question-and-answer sessions at the end of the morning and afternoon activities and will be closed by Ian Plover, faculty director - Design, Media & Management at Bucks New University.

The Conference is £30 for students; £65 concessions and £75 for general members of the public. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

For details, and to book a place, go to